[ sham-ee; French sha-mwah ]
/ ˈʃæm i; French ʃaˈmwɑ /

noun, plural cham·ois, cham·oix [sham-eez; French sha-mwah] /ˈʃæm iz; French ʃaˈmwɑ/.

verb (used with object), cham·oised [sham-eed] /ˈʃæm id/, cham·ois·ing [sham-ee-ing] /ˈʃæm i ɪŋ/.

to dress (a pelt) with oil in order to produce a chamois.
to rub or buff with a chamois.

Nearby words

  1. chaminade,
  2. chaminade, cécile louise stéphanie,
  3. chamiso,
  4. chamiza,
  5. chammy,
  6. chamoising,
  7. chamoix,
  8. chamomile,
  9. chamonix,
  10. chamorro

Also chammy, shammy, shamoy (for defs 2–4, 6, 7).

Origin of chamois

1525–35; < Middle French < Late Latin camox, presumably of pre-Latin orig.; cf. gems Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chamois

British Dictionary definitions for chamois


/ (ˈʃæmɪ, French ʃamwa) /

noun plural -ois

(ˈʃæmwɑː) a sure-footed goat antelope, Rupicapra rupicapra, inhabiting mountains of Europe and SW Asia, having vertical horns with backward-pointing tips
a soft suede leather formerly made from the hide of this animal, now obtained from the skins of sheep and goats
Also called: chamois leather, shammy, shammy leather, chammy, chammy leather (ˈʃæmɪ) a piece of such leather or similar material used for polishing, etc
  1. a yellow to greyish-yellow colour
  2. (as modifier)a chamois stamp

verb (tr)

to dress (leather or skin) like chamois
to polish with a chamois

Word Origin for chamois

C16: from Old French, from Late Latin camox of uncertain origin

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for chamois



1550s, "Alpine antelope;" 1570s, "soft leather," originally "skin of the chamois," from Middle French chamois "Alpine antelope" (14c.), from Late Latin camox (genitive camocis), perhaps from a pre-Latin Alpine language that also produced Italian camoscio, Spanish camuza, Old High German gamiza, German Gemse (though some of these might be from Latin camox). As a verb, "to polish with chamois," from 1934.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper